Come in, come in, the river mist will be gone soon enough, but here you’ll find some tales, some warmth so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.
Please sit by the window, you’ll have the best view, and easy hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the tapping crows.
I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.
Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.
“This is our inheritance, this decrepit old tower in the middle of nowhere?” asked Deedee.
“This is it,” said Rachel grabbing a flashlight out of her backpack and the large curving silver key. “Come on let’s see if the amazing stories the aunts told are true.”
“Really Rachel, not the aunts again,” said Deedee slamming the car door shut, slipping her pack onto her right shoulder.
“How do you think their business flourished, it was all because of this place, and where it took them, what they returned with,” said Rachel.
Only recently acquainted with the younger woman’s vivid imagination, Deedee followed her cousin across the field towards the tower, shaking her head, asking “And where exactly is that, and where are they now Rachel?”
The key fit easy and turned even easier stopping at the sound of a loud click, hesitating Rachel said, “You don’t need to follow me inside Deedee, just having you here, believing me after all those stories, all the stuff your mom told you, I mean, well me too, I didn’t know I had a cousin.”
“You’re too sentimental Rachel, just open the damn door and check this place out, but one loose step and we’re back to the car, okay?”
Nodding her head, gathering her courage, Rachel turned on her flashlight, pushed down upon the latch, nothing, she pushed hard against the door, it was heavier than anticipated, it didn’t budge, so Rachel pushed harder nearly falling inside as the door gave way against her effort, but steadying herself, she stood tall, slipping the large key back into the pocket of her jeans.
There was a staircase, nothing else, not even cobwebs or dust bits catching what little sunlight fell through the small windows, some with broken panes, some missing altogether, leaving gaping holes in the walls of the tower like empty eye sockets.
In silence the cousins climbed the staircase round and round as it rose toward the square room at the top of the tower, a room also clean and appearing empty, except for a soft mist which swirled and moved about revealing windows, hiding them again, finally revealing a door.
Deedee saw the door first, her involuntary gasp brought Rachel to her side, and both cousins stood for several minutes just looking before Rachel reached out to run her fingers along the intricately carved designs of knotted circles entwined with thyme and angelica leaves and a tiny petaled flower she did not recognize.
Music and voices grew louder as the two women opened the door revealing a full moon illuminating a most unusual marketplace that spread out in all directions in an alluring chaos of colors, sounds and curiosities.